JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Things That Make Me Smile

April suggested that I make a list of things that make me smile. So here goes:

  1. Danny Kaye movies
  2. sushi
  3. licks and snuggles from my dog in the morning
  4. going out for brunch on Sunday
  5. talking to my niece and/or nephew
  6. getting comments on my blog
  7. pedicures with a friend
  8. getting a facial or massage
  9. meeting someone new and interesting
  10. hanging out with good friends
  11. going out for a really nice meal
  12. having someone cook for me
  13. presents - giving and receiving
  14. my herb garden
  15. l-word
  16. anything wonder woman
  17. good, non-offensive comedy
  18. a really nice glass of wine
  19. going wine tasting
  20. completing a project
  21. getting published
  22. receiving compliments
  23. how cute my dog looks after getting groomed
  24. hearing a really fabulous song
  25. a good concert
  26. how excited my dad is to hear from me when I call him (like every day)
  27. buying something for myself or my place that I really like
  28. looking really good when getting dressed up
  29. when students call me "professor"
  30. walking on the beach
  31. reading my poetry in public
Now its your turn! Let me know if you decide to make a list like this.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Disappointing Doctors

I had an appointment today with a doctor at student health that I made a month ago to meet with one of their only female doctors on staff. She said that my test results are normal and then asked me a bunch of really personal questions and then said that I should just tweak how I'm handling the low blood sugar and sent me on my way.

I feel really manipulated right now. Why were those questions relevant? Clearly, she's going to use them to describe why my situation is psychosomatic and put into my chart instead of spending any time explaining to me why it is that I'm suddenly dealing with these hypoglycemic symptoms, what's going on with the migraines, or anything. I asked at the end, "so you think this is all due to stress?" And, she sort of responded in the affirmative but everything was very vague.

I even went in with a list of my symptoms, an overview of what I've done, and questions. But, she didn't seem interested in any of this other than letting me tell her like half of the symptoms. She also told me to drink juice when I get low blood sugar which is the OPPOSITE of what the dietitian told me - juice (unless I'm in a serious emergency) is going to make my sugar spike up and then drop back down too fast.

I'm also just feeling sort of an awe/confusion about what happened with Jerry. I keep waiting for him to call and apologize for real. I can't believe that its just over, just like this, with him being totally fine being a jerk and clearly blaming me for everything (even him being a jerk).

Augh augh augh! I'm not getting a lot of work done. I am having a hard time getting into it. In a little bit, I'm going to get a pedicure with friend (aka my ex girlfriend) before she leaves tomorrow to do research in another country. I also got the schedule for adult ed classes through the community college and put a bunch of stuff into my schedule (although nothing starts for weeks) of possibilities to do - I left it very open, I'll take whatever feels interesting at the time - a cooking class, an art class, a random lecture here or there.

*A* stopped by yesterday to pick up his mail. It was annoying that he didn't want to hang out and getting him to talk about how things are going for him and the relationship was like pulling teeth. Plus, we made no plans to hang out, not even for my birthday (which is on the 22nd by the way, but I'll be in Kansas City). Whatever.

I'm making efforts to get out more and connect with more people. It is hard work and sometimes honestly not so fun because I'm just kinda shy with new people. I know that I just have to take it one step at a time, and I'll keep trying to do that.

ALSO - fyi to my loyal readers - I just saw that there were like 8 comments from the past year at random times that somehow got lost in the system. I never received notification anywhere that they were in the system until I logged in today (and I login all the time). So, if for some reason you had posted a comment and it hadn't shown up, I'm REALLY sorry. I do really appreciate all the comments left here.

BUT, I've just reached 10,000 hits to this site. So, I appreciate everyone's support with this blog! Thanks!

Oh, and so what will I do about the health stuff? I'm going to go see a homeopath locally. Its going to cost me $500 just for the first visit and is not at all covered by insurance. But, clearly, I'm not going to get anywhere with doctors, and I'm ready to find some way to heal from these migraines and hypoglycemic issues.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Follow-up on Story From Earlier Tonight: Practice Happiness

So Jerry called me back to apologize or argue, I couldn't quite tell which. He told me that I'm unforgiving and said that I was making it easy to not be my friend. He kept pushing me on what I would want at this point. I don't even know what happened in the conversation, but somehow he came over and brought dinner.

It was an awkward dinner. Lots of awkward pauses. Afterwards, we put in this movie that we had talked about seeing our second date (but Jerry insisted instead that we see "Night at the Museum." Anyway, so after dinner we watched "Painted Veil." I related us to the characters. And so it was hard when the awkward scientist who seemed schmucky ended up being the nice one as opposed to the one who seemed charming. Its a sad movie, and I found myself holding back a lot of tears at the end, a bit embarrassed to cry in front of Jerry, especially since many of the tears are about our lost relationship. I mean, clearly, we're not even going to be friends.

After the movie, I asked him what he thought of it, and all he said was "it was different than what I expected." I said "for me too," and went to the bathroom to pull myself together. When I came down, he had his things together, gave me a hug, and left.

At least, the guy from my first date (Thursday) emailed me (at like 8pm - think he didn't have plans) to talk about our next date. That made me feel less lonely. I honestly think that this is the end of Jerry and me. The last shred of anything that we had. He even mentioned on the phone that its sad to have this all be over, and I agreed. But, nothing's changed. I could be his girlfriend or his friend, and he'll still treat me like crap. I have to choose my dignity, my self, over the relationship. At one point, he actually came out and said that it seems like I'm choosing standing up for myself over our relationship. I told him that this is exactly right; I'm choosing myself over the relationship. (I don't think he realized that its not supposed to be this kind of choice; the relationship should not require me to give up myself.)

This month has been about taking a leap of faith. I have faith that things can be better. I have faith that I will find love again, and when I do, the person that I love will treat me better than this, and I'll find happiness. I believe that the path to happiness will be holding to this faith, having compassion with myself for not having been able to make it work with Jerry, and practicing taking the steps to make it happen. I'll practice dating, practice thinking about what I need, practice asking for what I need, practice giving myself what I need, practice meditating, practice eating healthy and exercising, practice happiness. I'll practice happiness until one day, the happiness will come without so much effort, and I'll be surrounded by its beauty.

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AUUGHHH! Another Jerky Jerry Story

I let Jerry know that I was ready to hang out again and asked if he wanted to do something tonight. He said yes and invited me to come over for dinner and then go out and do something. He told me to come over at 6pm. So, I walk Karma over in the heat, wearing clothes for going out later when it'll be cold and carrying the vegetable that he told me to bring. I'm talking to my sister on the way over about how we're not happy with how things are at Mom's place.

And then, there's no one at Jerry's house. He's totally stood me up. I call him, and he doesn't answer his phone. I'm SO annoyed. I had rushed to be there on time, and he's not even there.

So, about 15-20 minutes later, I get a phone call from him. He tells me that he's just leaving the lab and is very hungry. Then he calls me at home and hangs up on the machine. I am so pissed. I am tempted to just not talk to him, but I decide to call him and explain that I'm not coming back over and don't appreciate being treated this way. He expressed being annoyed at first and then tries to back track by explaining that he's had a rough day. Then, he says that he thought that he had said that we'd touch base at 6pm. And its so freaking clear that he's not thought about me at all; I mean he says that he went into this one lab at 5:30 without his phone....Then, he says that he's going to get going (I mean he's already said that he's hungry).

So now I'm stuck at home alone on a Saturday night. I could've gone out again with the first guy or made plans with my neighbors or stayed at the coffee shop longer to work. AND clearly, there's no hope for me and Jerry - not as friends or as lovers. I'm feeling this huge mix of things - frustration, sadness, disappointment, loneliness, confusion (why would he be like this to me and how am I supposed to respond).

He's made me out to be a bitch by not coming back over. But how can I allow him to treat me badly after that's why I left? And what am I supposed to do with my night now? If I go over to my neighbors at this point, is it annoying? Is there any way to not just be sitting at home and brooding over how what happened?

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Next Date, Memory Walk

Well, I'm glad that I made it to the Memory Walk. Even though I only really talked with this woman I had met at an earlier talk on Alzheimer's who joined my team, I was glad to participate. I was sad though when I saw whole families participating in support of one of their family member's with Alzheimer's. How sad, I thought that my family doesn't come together to do this - not for my Mom, not for Grandma. Maybe next year, I'll try to organize Dad, my sister and her family, Mom's cousin, and whomever else I can drag up to all do it together. And Mom, of course, if she's still around.

The date tonight was funny. The guy has this nervous energy and can't stop twitching his legs. He smokes, drinks A LOT (so he says), is bipolar, does drugs (or at least pot so he mentions), is kinda anti-Israel, has a 21 year old kid, and hmmm....what else is there? I mean there's something sexy about him and I think I'll keep an open mind about him enough to meet him once more just to see what comes up BUT it was humorous how off the whole thing was. He even laughed about how he was saying all the wrong things for a first date.

Tomorrow night, I'm going to hang out with Jerry, which should be interesting. I also emailed back the other date that I had and asked if we could put off seeing each other til next weekend because this week is packed. I didn't mention that I'm meeting a third guy. The guy that I REALLY want to meet lives about an hour away and doesn't seem so interested in driving in for a date, but I'm loving having these dates just about practicing first dates and getting out. It takes all the pressure off of it having to go anywhere or trying to get the guy to see me in a certain way. I couldn't help tonight though thinking that I'd rather be on a date with a woman!

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Nice Date, Mean Migraine

I had a really nice first date on Thursday. Having the date at the end of the night helped me focus on work during the day. For about 15 minutes, I felt a little self conscious because on his profile (we met online) says that he's interested in women who have either thin or athletic bodies.

But then I arrived and noticed that though his profile said that he's 5'5", clearly he's only about my height (like 2+ inches shorter). And when I got carded at the door (because there was a cover at the coffee shop and a band), the guy was shocked to see my real age. And, I just had fun with it. We talked for about an hour or so, and he immediately emailed me to set something up again. This time - hiking, picnic, or walk on the beach. Sounds really nice. But, I'm thinking that I'll put off meeting with him again until next week perhaps so that I force things to go slow.

I thought that maybe I'd see Jerry finally on Saturday. But, I emailed him and haven't heard back.

I woke up Friday at 4am with a migraine. I took Imitrex and slept and slept, but it hasn't totally gone away yet, even after a second one last night around 8ish. I am not in tons of pain, but I'm still nauseous and feel the left side of my body all tight. I'm also kinda dizzy and out of it. I slept most of the morning. I'm supposed to go to the Alzheimer's Association fundraiser "Memory Walk" at 4:30, but I'm not sure if I'll be up for it. Then, I'm supposed to have a different first date at 9 at this bar. I know that I can't drink anything. I'm tempted to cancel, but I hate to do so so last minute.

I'm feeling a lot better about things, I think. I still have no plans for Saturday night, but at least I've been able to concentrate more. I'm starting to move past the emotions of the break-up.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Small Steps - A List

Here's a recommendation from April:

"And if we don’t like who we are, we can make a list of who we would like to be and then small steps we can take in the right direction for each change we would like to make. Taking action, any action, will make us feel better—if we choose steps we can achieve AND if we give ourselves permission sometimes to stumble along the way. We can look for people who believe in us, even when we have trouble believing in ourselves and who will encourage us to become the best we can be WITHOUT berating us for where we are now."

Who I Want To Be:
  1. I want to be someone with lots of friends - someone who is a good friend and who has lots of good friends.
  2. I want to be less anxious and handle stress with more grace.
  3. I want be someone grounded in a family and family life.
  4. I want to be a successful sociologist.
  5. I want to make positive contributions to the world.
  6. I want to be someone who enjoys life and who explores the world around me.
  7. I want to be someone who takes vacations.
  8. I want to loyal and dependable.
If someone else has similar issues, consider making a list for yourself. Let me know in the comments if you do.


I found these two quotes that I'd like to share:

“We must be the change we seek in the world.” – Gandhi

“I believe that courage is all too often mistakenly seen as the absence of fear. If you descend by rope from a cliff and are not fearful to some degree, you are either crazy or unaware. Courage is seeing your fears in a realistic perspective, defining it, considering alternatives, and choosing to function in spite of risks.” – Leonard Zunin

Being Alone

So, a big theme for me right now is being alone - coming to terms with it, not feeling desperate about it, finding ways to not be alone so much but be okay with it when I am basically. For me, this is somewhat of an ongoing theme. In high school, I overfilled my days and was almost never alone. But at the same time, I was often traveling and doing another activity, so I wasn't too dependent upon one thing or person (I think). Then, in college, I had a hard time learning to relate to people when I wasn't "the leader" but just a regular person again.

When I moved to Israel, I had a hard time making friends and feeling really alone. But then again, I moved to a new place where I only knew two people, and one of them raped me the first night that I was there. Then, I moved to a small town in Ohio to finish my degree and was really isolated because of my age and the fact that new people never went into that town. Then, I went back to Kansas City, but knew that it would be short term again. And then, since I've been here, there's been this sense that I won't be here permanently either. So, all of my relationships get this temporal feeling (with some exceptions). I long for something permanent. This is especially true since my family relationships are so unhealthy and unfulfilling.

So, how do I approach the future with regards to being alone? In the past, I've gotten WAY too isolated and then I get desperate for human contact, which makes the contact feel forced and uncomfortable. It doesn't help that I work from home now and rarely have reason to interact with people much unless I have plans with someone or go to the grocery store.

Right now, I'm trying to connect with lots of people in little ways so that I don't start to feel dependent, desperate, or depressed. But, some seem to feel like I'm moving to fast by starting to date. I have to say though that I feel like the dating this is what is going to keep me from going back to Jerry. I feel so strongly that I miss him and feel anxious and lonely and so connecting with others becomes this distraction from that.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Can't They Visit Us From Heaven?

My sister told me today that my niece got really upset the other night. She started crying and talking about my great aunt who died two years ago and my grandmother who died in December. She wanted to know why they couldn't come visit her from heaven. She also was worried that they would get cold and wanted to bring them something to keep warm. I couldn't help but cry a little when I heard this, and even more now that I think about it. I ordered my sister two books:
"Saying Goodbye to Grandma" and "Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child." I at all like to know that my niece is suffering, but it makes me feel a little better knowing that I'm not the only one missing Tante and Grandma.

Yesterday, I had lunch with ex-girlfriend, who was super supportive. I then met her and another friend in the evening to sit at a coffee shop and study. I was feeling relatively good. And they pushed me to come out to a little gathering at another grad student's place. I also made plans for tonight to get a drink with a grad student who just broke up with his boyfriend and commiserate about how hard break-ups are.

I had told Jerry that I want some time (like just a week or two) to not see him so that I can deal with my feelings about him and the breakup. He wanted me to go to a wedding with him tonight, but I told him that unless he REALLY needed me to go, that I'd rather take my space. A wedding is really a date.

Today, I contacted the friend from last night to meet again at a coffee shop (my ex is in LA). She told me that she heard that the guy I was supposed to get a drink with tonight is going to LA to some bar with a couple of guy friends. He never even called me to blow me off last minute, although when I got home, there was a weird message on my machine saying that I got a text message on my land line. Apparently that was my blow off.

Anyway, I was feeling a little low to say the least. I went to the grocery store, and I don't know if it was the music or seeing the couples and families, but I felt really alone. Last week, my therapist tried to talk me into focusing on feeling okay with being alone. I think that I really need to work on my ability to create lots of healthy connections with others, a full life. That's what the therapist in Kansas City pushed for me to do. Its kind of annoying to have this contradictory advice. But, I'm grateful that I'm have a sense about what I need. I think that I am generally doing better. I also see that things will get better in the future. I still kinda wish that I was with Jerry tonight. I now that I'd have a better time if I were with him tonight. I also know that he'll become verbally abusive again if I stay with him.

Augh! Can you tell that I'm stalling from ending this post? I don't want to have to face the rest of the night on my own. Its a bit ridiculous considering that I'm going out with a lot of friends tomorrow night; I have a book to read; I have some watercolor painting to do and thank you notes to write. Oh, and I have two movies I could watch.

I already have a date on Wednesday night by the way. And he's Jewish. Someone that I met online. And there's this amazing Buddhist guy that I'll probably meet also. I really want to have a partner. And really good friends. Tonight, I dedicate to myself to really work on these things. {Breathe}

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Bit of a Rollercoaster

So three days ago, I emailed Jerry and asked if we could give each other back our stuff. I felt weird with him having the key to my house AND this very important book of my neighbors. So, he practically jumped at the chance to see me, although I put it off a day because I had plans to have dinner with a friend. In his emails, he hinted about getting back together.

I didn't know what to expect - would he want to get back together or would he become verbally abusive towards me or maybe even both. But, it was wonderful. We got to talk through (calmly and openly) what happened that made us break up. It was like a relationship autopsy that I had been reading about in Sark's Transformation Soup. He acknowledged a lot of the stuff that I had been struggling to get him to see for weeks. He admitted that he needed to work on himself. He even said that he just misunderstood what I had been asking for - and said that he probably would have agreed to 10 weeks of therapy; he just thought that I was asking him to go for two years. I don't know where he got that I was asking for 2 years.

We found many reasons why it didn't work between us - that we want different things from a relationship (he wants someone to challenge him and I want someone to be emotionally supportive), our religious differences, etc. And we kind of honored those.

Don't get me wrong; it was a very difficult process. I could barely look at him to hold back the tears. I told him, and when he asked why, I explained that even though I am proud of the decision that I made to break up, it is still hard.

He asked if we could have make up sex, and I said no, but that we could have break up sex. So we did. And it felt incredible. Free. Passionate. We knew it would probably be the last time, and so put all of our energy and passion about each other into it. When it was over, we would have normally snuggled for awhile. I immediately got out of bed, and I told him that he couldn't spend the night. I left the room and started to cry a bit. I felt so close to him, but I knew that I had to let him go.

We chatted some more downstairs, until finally I encouraged him to leave after 11pm. He told me that we'll still be friends and to call if I need him like to fix a toilet or something. When he left, I went right to bed, did the Stresseraser a bit and had the best night's sleep in a week.

So, I had been hoping to take some sort of vacation and am desperate to get out of town. Yesterday, I met with my advisor, and she sort of squashed that though because apparently I don't have the time. We never directly talked about vacation, but I'm clearly behind from our conversation.

Then, I went to therapy where my therapist told me that she didn't think dating right away is a good idea - squashing this coping mechanism I've been using of going onto an online dating website. Seeing that there are options out there has made me feel really better about the whole situation with Jerry.....but she said that I should focus on getting at the core of the issues with Jerry before moving on. I may have convinced her that I am ready to casually date, but it just made me feel not so secure about my process of healing.

I have had plans with A and his girlfriend to go to this event at the museum. They show up late, and since the event is sold out, people keep coming up to me and asking if they can buy my tickets. I really have to go use the bathroom, but I can't go in without them because I have their ticket. So, eventually, I see them casually walking down the street and stopping to window shop. I'm pretty annoyed because I'm feeling very awkward and uncomfortable outside by myself in the midst of the whole scene.

Neither of them talk to me much, although at one point I hear them talking about me. [Did you pay her back for the ticket? No, I'm just seeing her right now. I'll get her a drink.] Then, the girlfriend and I make our way to the bathroom, and she asks me "so what did you do this week?" It feels awkward, and I'm annoyed that she doesn't acknowledge that I'm going through a break-up. I don't want to have to scream about it, so I just say "not much."

That's all she really says to me that evening. She mostly just talks to A, making me feel like a third wheel. There are couples taking pictures in one room, and she is very excited to get a nice picture with A. I say that I'll go check the rest of the place out. Almost everyone is there with friends or in a couple, and as I walk around and check out the art work, no one talks to me, although many people give me the once over. I feel very uncomfortable, until I reach a room with live jazz music and this gorgeous Monet. Finally, I think that it has been awhile and feel in the way looking at this one painting as people are trying to make their way past.

So, I go back to A and his girlfriend. They've only made their way halfway up the line by this point. I try to make conversation by asking what they're doing this weekend. A tells me that his parents are coming into town and that they've got plans with them. I'm kinda hurt by this because if my dad came to town, he would want to take A out to dinner, even if I was seeing someone else because we've been friends forever. And, A used to point out that I'm like a member of his family and encourage me to go down (I think to let them think I was his girlfriend). Anyway, I have no plans this weekend, so I'm a little hurt.

I offer to get them more drinks (don't want to be in this loud line of couples). She doesn't want one, but A wants a beer. I go to wait in line for it and run into a friend of his. She gets me a wine instead of him a beer, and its fun for a few minutes to be actually interacting with someone at the event. She tells me that she had brunch with A and his girlfriend, and I can't help it, but I'm wondering why it is that I've been feeling so lonely in town and my best friend doesn't invite me out at all.

Anyway, we go back to find A, and they're in the front of the line. A's friend and her (albeit it gay) date want to get a picture too. I stand on the sidelines while they all do this, feeling very out of place. As A and his girlfriend get their picture taken, everyone around me starts talking bout how great her breasts are. I'm thinking about how I'd rather be here with Jerry. So, when A is done getting pictures, I tell him that he should take my wine because I really can't drink two glasses and am already feeling it (there's also like no appetizers like there normally are so I'm on an empty stomach). He seems annoyed that I didn't get him his beer and says he doesn't want it. I tell him maybe his girlfriend will want it and that I'm just not feeling being there.

I walk away and feel tears well up inside. No one seems to notice me leave. I look at this crowd of people that I have to get through; no one looks familiar or even friendly. When I get to my car, I am really crying. I miss Jerry.

I get home and sit and cry for a bit. The phone rings. And its Jerry. He wants to stop by to check his blood sugar on my machine because he's been worried that maybe he has diabetes....anyway, I tell him to come over. I'm so excited! This is exactly what I want.

He shows up, and I'm overly excited to see him and friendly. I wonder now if he could've seen that I had been crying. Anyway, he says that he can't stay long because he has to go get dinner (which I already scarfed down as soon as I got home). But I offer to make him a sandwich because I don't want to leave. And we open a bottle of beer even though I don't want to be drinking anymore because I want him to stay. When his blood sugar is fine, I tell him that he should spend the night so he can check it again first thing in the morning. I was making such a schmuck of myself. He said that we should take it slow, and eventually left. He did say though that if I asked him to stay that he would. I kissed him as he left.

Then, I pigged out a bit eating more and cried. I couldn't fall asleep and woke up SUPER early and just feel like crap today. My plans for tonight were canceled because my friend is sick meaning that I have NO plans for this weekend at all. I'm tempted to skip town, but I have no where to go and a lot of work to do.

I think that I need to email Jerry and tell him that I can't see him until I work through some more of this. I could go with him Saturday to this wedding we were supposed to go to though and then not be alone all weekend. A hasn't at all bothered to check up on if I'm alright or not, and I really feel like he doesn't care so much about me. I mean that was the first time that he's seen me since the break up, and there was like no acknowledgment that maybe I'm going through a rough time and could use a friend. The sky is filled with ash so I can't even go out for a simple bike ride. In fact, my eyes are burning a bit just sitting inside with all of the windows closed.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Working on Taking Care of Myself

I've still been feeling sick to my stomach and not sleeping so hot. But, I am getting over the hump of the crying and shock. I think all in all, I'm doing a lot better.

I am a little nervous that Jerry might be reading my blog. I mentioned to him a while back that I have one and asked him to not look it up. He said at the time that he'd respect my privacy, but I don't put it past him to have looked up this blog. I think that I feel okay with it because I don't feel ashamed of anything that I'm thinking or feeling. I am somewhat tempted to take down the blog from the public feed, especially because my readership appears to have gone down, but I appreciate having it up here for people can see. I think it goes along with the quotes that you'll see in my profile (see left).

Anyway, I hung out a couple of nights ago with my neighbor. I'm making plans for another massage next Friday and to have dinner with the therapist (who has also become a friend) afterwards. I also have more tentative plans with my neighbor for probably this weekend. Tonight, I have plans to go to dinner with a classmate. All of these things are happening because I'm making a concerted effort to do things with people.

Today, I went to acupuncture. Then, I picked up tickets to go to this museum event with *A* and his girlfriend. A friend of mine saw me walking down the street and whistled, raising my confidence a bit. I also returned this book on emotional abuse that I had ordered online weeks ago and clearly no longer need. In exchange, I got a book on healthy communication, a novel, a gift for a friend. I stopped by this pastry shop and bought a snack for later - a slice of apple cake like my Oma used to make. I picked up lunch around the corner and thought to myself about how I am capable of taking care of and treating myself. I don't need Jerry to take care of me. It would've been nice to have him in my life, but I feel like I have my power back.

Now, I've got some time to get some work done, although I really am still struggling to get back in the swing of things. I'm going to try to get a bike ride in today, if even like yesterday, just up to a coffee shop to work for an hour and have a change of scenery.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Great Article on Emotional Abuse

Check out this article on emotional abuse, a "rant by heartless bitches." Ah, how fitting.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What a Difference a Day Makes: Karmic Healing

Things are improving. Yesterday, I went to a meditation and restorative yoga healing workshop. It was such a wonderful break-up ritual. I made my intention for the workshop to heal from the break-up and meditated on relaxing, letting go of my pain and anger, and sending healing to Jerry. Then, I went home, walked my dog, grabbed some dinner and headed out to a spoken word performance by this very powerful woman. I met some friends there, and we all went out to a coffee shop afterwards.

I still slept like hell last night. It was a struggle to fall asleep, and then I kept waking up in the middle of the night. I finally got up at 6am (even though my alarm was set for 7:15). I went to get a lesson in zazen meditation and sit with his group. I had found out about the group last year, but never got around to going. I'm not sure if I'll want to go back...they do this whole chanting and bowing ritual that as a Jew, I'm not sure I'm totally comfortable with. And they couldn't give me any explanation as to why it is a part of their practice other than that's how the leader was taught....he suggested maybe I try a vipassana group, which follows more Tibetan followings and doesn't have the ritual stuff afterwards. I'm tempted. But, I know that its led in town by my old therapist.

Anyway, after that, I bought myself some breakfast at this place that I'd frequent with Jerry, but I went on my own and it was fine. I brought a book. I was so seriously tempted to call Jerry though the whole time. I kept thinking about wanting to negotiate with him to have a friendship with me - something...just to hear his voice and maybe see him. I was feeling desperate. My sister called me though to let me talk to my niece, which was really nice, even though she only wanted to talk with me to ask me to buy her clothes for her American Girls doll.

Then, I went and had a facial. I made an appointment yesterday on the phone with my acupuncturist, who I'll go see on Tuesday. See recommended that I go get a facial. (The acupuncturist is amazing and will help with the physical symptoms that I'm getting from the breakup - the upset stomach and insomnia PLUS she does this work where she'll have me hold on to a picture of Jerry and will help reset my body from feeling so much trauma when I think about him.) Anyway, the facial was maybe the best I've ever had - so relaxing. I laid down thinking about wanting to call Jerry and slowly my body let go of the tension and these thoughts.

She asked me if I want to have my eye brows shaped. I never would have done this before because it seems vain and a waste of money and anti-feminist. But, I figured that maybe it was fate - that I need some changes, so I said yes. It looks so good! And she put make-up on me. I thanked her for making me feel so good and told her that I had just broken up with my boyfriend. She told me that I'm beautiful and my whole life is ahead of me and not to worry about it. She talked to me about deep breathing and held my feet as I practiced, saying she was giving me chi. Anyway, it was very healing.

Outside, a man approached me and asked me for money, saying that he will go to this shelter where I volunteered last week, but that they won't have space for his family until Monday and he can't afford the hotel room. I gave him a $20 and felt good for being able to pass on this good feeling that I have and do a mitzvah.

As I got into my car, this old Jewish looking man with an odd European accent approached me and asked me to roll down my window. We had this great conversation, although at the end he started kvetching about his ex-wife. It made me think about how much Jerry and I would never work out together in the long run and how good it is that I'm leaving him now instead of later.

Right now, I feel really good. I have lots of things to fill my day today - shopping, cleaning up the house a bit, maybe having dinner with my neighbor or maybe I'll call *A* and meet him and his girlfriend, maybe going with friends to a club tonight. Tuesday, I'm having dinner with a friend and acupuncture earlier in the day. Thursday night, I'm going with *A* and his girlfriend to this spiel at the art museum. So, I've definitely gotten through the worst of it (I hope, tfu tfu). And I've got a good step at plans for this week.

The way that I got through this so far was by putting a lot of attention on taking care of myself, reaching out to a lot of people in little ways, and letting myself have permission to need some focused time just to cope.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

What can I do that makes me happy now that I'm on my own?

April suggested that I make a list -

What can I do that makes me happy now that I'm on my own? What can I do that will make me laugh that I couldn't do while I was with Jerry?

So here goes:
  1. Spend time with my friends.
  2. Practice meditation and explore more meditation communities.
  3. Go to poetry readings, jazz music performances, and feminist activities.
  4. I can work on creating new relationships and finding new people to share some of the things that I used to do with Jerry - like going for breakfast on the weekend, going for bike rides, having picnics at the beach, hanging out and watching movies.
  5. Start up getting massages again on Friday evenings by this really amazing friend of mine who studies Psychology, trauma, and cranial sacral (great for the migraines).
  6. Hosting Friday night Shabbat dinners.
  7. Take an adult ed class in writing or painting or something creative.
  8. I can watch all the movies that Jerry didn't want to watch - the Israeli, queer, and/or feminist flicks.
  9. Volunteer.
  10. Take baths.
  11. Eat a lot healthier and drink a lot less.
  12. Plan for a real vacation.
  13. Maybe I'll try to stay up late on Sunday nights and go with my friends to the bar that has the queer night.
  14. Get my tuchus back to Israel.
  15. Find ways to keep balance in my life between work and play.
  16. Start practicing yoga again and hope that I can do it with out injuring my back...
  17. Get more involved with the local shul and Hillel - and have a sense of humor about how much it isn't exactly what I want from a community.
  18. Work on chit chatting with new people, meeting lots of new people, and taking my time in getting to know them.
  19. Go back to online dating and keep a sense of humor about it.
  20. Put a lot of effort when the school year starts on meeting the new cohort and helping organizing queer grad events.


My Response to Jerry

Hey Jerry,

I don't know why I keep arguing with you about this stuff. I guess a part of me still hopes that I can just say the right thing and then everything will magically be okay. I know that's not true though.

It is different what you are saying here that I "were being/acting" instead of that I am....At the brew pub, you said that we weren't having a good time because of me. I responded that it takes two to tango and you said no.

I wonder if you accuse me of being verbally abusive as a response to my accusation of you? Or is that something that you really mean? All of your examples are of my responses to your abuse. I have mentioned in this in the past, that there is never a good response that I could give when you get abusive - if I say something, you attack me verbally
if I don't say something, you get angry with me and say that the anger comes out anyway
if I leave, you call me flaky and get angry.
MAYBE you recognize that we had gotten into an unhealthy dynamic and are putting all of the blame on me?

You even seemed surprised that you would have to pick up your own steak to bbq. Am I correct about that?" No, I didn't expect you to pick up my steak.

I'm not quite sure what you're theory is about why I think that some of your behavior can be verbally abusive. I don't know if your ex-girlfriends not stating to you that they think you have verbally abusive tendencies proves that I'm wrong. If you really want an expert third party opinion, talk to a real expert- someone who is an expert in this area (aka a therapist specializing in these issues).

To some degree, we are both right.
Of course, what happened in our relationship was a dynamic created by the both of us. I have clearly have issues that I have to work on. That's why I'm in therapy and study these issues. If we could have come to find a way to work on the issues together, then I think we could move past them. At least that's the theory.

I've done nothing today but cry and futz around. Getting over you will certainly not be easy.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Jerry's Next Email

"In the last week, you called me selfish"; -you *were* being selfish.
"told me that I act like a child", -I told you that you *were acting* like a child, and you were.
"that our problems are entirely my fault", -I have never said this nor believed this. but I do feel like you think our problems are entirely my fault.
"and that my feelings are not valid"; -also never said this, nor believe this. In fact, I have tried to support you in your feelings. I told you last night that if you feel I am being verbally abusive, it really does not matter what the facts are. What you feel is important. But I am doubtful that I can change my behavior enough to make you happy.
"gotten angry with me for walking too slow", -actually it was you that got angry with me for walking too fast. I was not angry with you at all that evening until you started giving me the silent treatment over dinner (which by the way is classic verbal abuse behavior as I am sure you are aware)
"for speaking up when I get angry AND for remaining silent at other times". - I don't mean to twist your words around, but it sounds like you are saying it is ok for you to get angry and either speak up or remain silent, but not for me?
"I'm sorry if I misunderstood you at times; I do admit to being sensitive to verbal abuse." -when you call a hotline and tell them you are being verbally abused, and their advice is for you to go to a shelter immediately. I gather that you think it was bad advice, but having read up on verbal abuse I think it is excellent advice.
As you have probably seen, my father is definitely verbally abusive to my mother and this has obviously not been a good role model for me. So I am well aware of what it looks like and open to the possibility that I have it in my character. What about you? You have also reported that your father is verbally abusive, and I think you have said that you take after him in some (other) ways. I felt like you expected me to get everything ready for dinner the other day. You even seemed surprised that you would have to pick up your own steak to bbq. Am I correct about that? Isn't this kind of implied expectation the same as being ordered around? It is certainly the way I felt.
The link you sent I beleive was written by the author of the book I read this morning. In the link you said is the following passage:
If there isn’t a feeling of goodwill and understanding between two people in their relationship, if one is hurting and feeling constantly put down by actual comments, for instance, “You can’t do anything right,” You aren’t listening,” or is frequently yelled at, then that person is probably in a verbally abusive relationship.
I have sometimes felt that I can't do things the way you want them, and though you don't yell at me you have frrquently accused me of not listening.
Dismiss this if you like, but I really feel like I have perfectly valid grounds for my feelings as well. And you have dismissed them pretty quickly in the past by the way. As I scientist I would suggest we could look to some objective third party viewpoint. Would any of my previous girlfriends call me verbally abusive? Of course they might not recognize it, so we could ask them if they noticed any of the classic behaviors? What about your previous relationships?
In the end, as I have often said, and will say again, it really doesn't matter what facts you or I can or cannot dig up. If you feel verbally abused then it is a problem. You are entitled to your feelings and I to mine.

Looking for Breakup Advice

In the past, I've usually avoided the pain of break-ups by demonizing the ex in my mind. It would make the break-up easier, but cause me to not trust potential partners in the future. Now, I want to let myself feel the feelings, but not get too lost in them. I feel overwhelmed. I'm reading "When Things Fall Apart" again by Pema Chodron.

I also found these websites:

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Couldn't Sleep Last Night; Email From Jerry

I could barely sleep last night. I feel sick, and I can't stop crying and having these thoughts run around in my ahead of what I could have done differently.

Here's an email that I got this morning from Jerry:
I read my book on verbal abuse this morning and I just don't see it. The root of it is described as a need to control the partner. I have no desire to control you, only to control what happens to me, just as you want to control what happens to you.

I'm sorry about the way things ended. I would have liked a hug too, but didn't want to acknowledge that we were really breaking up. I don't want to go on with the way things are either, and I will surely miss you as well.

You should know that I haven't told a girl in a long time that I loved her. But I could tell that you cared a lot about me, and I trusted you, and came to love you too. I wish I was better at conveying those same feelings to you.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

We Broke Up

Jerry and I just broke up. I feel so sad even though I know I had to do it. He made it easy by being his usual verbally abusive self when I got over there. Eight months. I really love him. My heart is broken.


What I Want to Say

Here's what I want to say to Jerry...whenever he decides that he's speaking to me again:

Jerry, we've been together for 8 months, and in that time you've become my friend, my lover, my pain in the neck, my rock. I've grown to love you, to feel safe when you hold me, and to sleep better when you're next to me. I thought that we had come to an understanding in January that you would work on your abusive tendencies. I know that you don't intend to hurt me, but that you've learned to act this way from your father. I've also been working on my co-dependent and enabling tendencies and to speak up when these issues arise instead of brooding over them. I had asked you to seek some sort of therapy to help with this, but you assured me that you could handle it on your own, even though I told you that my fear was that you'd come to resent me for bringing the issues up. I feel like that's what's happened now. You don't seem to agree with me that there's a problem with the way that you're treating me or to take responsibility for changing this.

I will no longer allow myself to be treated like a child, teased, ordered around, or insulted. I would love to be able to stay with you, but I can only do this if you agree that the way that this tendency of being verbally abusive to me is not acceptable and take responsibility for changing it with the assistance of some sort of therapy. If you're not willing to do this, know that I love you, but I can't be with you.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Think Its Time to End It

Things were good again with Jerry, sort of. Its been hard. First, we had some more email exchanges, where he basically denied that he's verbally abusive at all and claims that I'm the one who is abusive (because when he becomes abusive, I leave, and he calls that being flaky). Anyway, I finally called him to try to talk it out. More of the same until he starts acting like everything's fine and dandy. I was so emotionally drained from having been accused of being abusive, feeling turned around and confused. I said that we should talk in person and not just on the phone.

Jerry drags me to this new brew pub in town. He asked me to drive, and I was all over the road, just feeling completely shaky. I told Jerry that maybe we should go on a break, and he refused, saying that either we're together or we break up since he was just gone for 3 weeks in China.

Then, tonight we had plans to meet *A* and his visiting girlfriend to the see the "Simpsons" movie. Jerry wanted to cook up these pork ribs that he had and we've got this huge squash that I friend gave to him, so I offered to get myself a steak that we could cook up at the same time.
I call Jerry and he starts ordering me around and giving me a hard time for not being over there, even though earlier when I spoke with him, he said he'd call me. I call him on walking way faster than I can (he's over a foot taller than me) on the way to the grocery store (he insists on coming with me to buy steaks because his ribs were off). Jerry responds by insulting me and telling me that we'll be late if I don't hurry up, and it'll be my fault if we are late. Then, he starts walking very slowly behind me.

I just ignore him and go get what we need at the store. Jerry comes up to me and starts acting as if nothing's happened. Then, he argues with me about every steak that I choose, saying that it'll take too long to cook (except we're wasting time arguing and he could have just gone to get the grill going already). Then, he leaves me to pay for the steaks to get the grill ready, he says. Although when I get back to his house, he's cleaning up the kitchen and drinking a beer. I go get the squash ready, and Jerry tells me to season the steaks (I've never cooked steaks before). Then, he tells me that I'll have to cook the squash. Then, when I'm preparing food, he comes up to me in front of my roommates and tries to start kissing on me. I was so annoyed that I asked him to not do this in front of his roommates.

We don't talk at all during dinner, except I note the time as Jerry futzes with some extra stuff that he's decided to make. Finally, in the car, I say "look I'm annoyed because I feel like you were treating me like a child." Jerry tells me that he I'm acting like a child. He then tells me that since I was sulking earlier, that he's going to sulk and not talk to me. He raises his voice and uses a demeaning tone. I tell him that its not okay to use that tone with me.

Jerry is grouchy during the movie and doesn't say anything to anyone. The car ride is silent. When he pulls up at my place, I say "so this is how you want to leave it?" He says: "for now."

I think it is clear that I have to leave him. It is going to be REALLY hard; I'm REALLY going to miss him; and I'm going to be extremely lonely. BUT, I have to stand up for myself and stop letting him treat me like this.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

More Verbal Abuse

Augh! I don't know if I would have realized what was going on without some of your comments. But, Jerry has kept up with these negative remarks about me, making fun of me, responding negatively whenever I try to communicate with him, ignoring me when I feel emotional at all about my Mom....

So, I sent him the below email:

I feel like we're in a weird place right now - like there's a lot of tension and fighting. I'm definitely interested in doing whatever I can to work on this. I feel like we haven't been communicating very effectively lately, and I definitely do not want to fight with you. I would be interested in hearing what I can do to communicate more effectively with you.

We've talked about this before, but I want to remind you that you sometimes have a tendency to get verbally abusive. When I confronted you on this in the past and asked you to get therapy to help you with it, you told me that you could handle it on our own. I told you that my fear was that if it was my responsibility to point it out when it happened, then you would come to resent me. I feel like that is happening now - that my choice is either to call you on it and have you resent me or not say anything and have it continue. The verbal abuse hasn't gotten that bad this time, but I would like to stop us down this road.

I want to ask you again to consider trying therapy - not necessarily long term and not about everything in your life; just about this tendency to be verbally abusive. I love you, and I want to be with you. However, I do not want to continue to be verbally abused.

Here is a list of questions that I found online about being verbally abusive. See if you think any of these fit:

Does your partner...
* ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of humor?
* ridicule your beliefs, religion, race, heritage or class?
* withhold approval, appreciation or affection?
* criticize you, call you names, yell at you?
* humiliate you privately or in public?
* roll his or her eyes when you talk?
* tell you you are too sensitive?
* ignore your feelings?
* disrespect you?
* give you a hard time about socializing with your friends or family?
* hurt you especially when you are down?
* seem energized by fighting, while fighting exhausts you?
* ever hit or pushed you, even "accidentally"?
* seem to stir up trouble just when you seem to be getting closer to each other?
* compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticize you enough to keep you insecure?
* harass you about imagined affairs?
* question your every move and motive, somehow questioning your competence?
* interrupt you; hear but not really listen?
* make you feel like you can't win? damned if you do, damned if you don't?
* try to convince you he or she is "right," while you are "wrong?"
* frequently say things that are later denied or accuse you of misunderstanding?


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Friday, August 03, 2007

Mom's Alzheimer's is Bad For My Hair

I went to get my hair cut today. I went to this guy who used to cut my hair a year or so ago, but I stopped going to him because he's super expensive, and I've been in Kansas City and all. But, I finally went back today because I've had such a hard time finding someone here to cut my hair.

I pointed out to him that it seems like my hair is getting drier and frizzier. He asked if I've been under any stress, and I noted the situation with Mom. He said that this stress is causing my hair to be dry and frizzy. I find it funny in a sad sort of way.

No one else seems to find this funny. I think I'm shock a little bit about how much everything really is affecting me and that as much as I try to make everything seem okay, it really isn't. The other night with my friends' at dinner, one was talking about how it is weird for her Mom to date. I said that I don't think that I'll have a problem with my Dad dating. That night, I was having nightmares about the whole thing. Yeah, what I said that night was true: I do want my dad to be happy. But, I can't believe that my mom is dying, that my dad is sort of single already. I can't believe that my own mom doesn't know who I am. That I can't go visit my cousins because they don't want to have anything to do with me. That my friend Kathy has cut me out of her life.

Jerry wasn't really being supportive today. He kept teasing me. And when I called him on it, he said that I don't have a good sense of humor. Then, I commented that it makes me feel like he doesn't want to talk to me when he makes phone calls when we get in the car. (He's always on the phone, and a few days ago, he spent the whole car trip on the phone.) He said that I'm too critical of him. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm taking out my sadness and frustration on him.

All I know is that I'm so affected by all of this, its effecting my hair.

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Spending Time With Friends

Last weekend, I went to LA to see some friends in from Israel. Then, spent the night with Jerry's brother and had lunch with his parents. I finished up my teaching my first class. Then, I had some friends stay with me that I know from BBYO Kallah/ILTC/IC the summer before my senior year. We went wine tasting yesterday, and I had WAAAYY too much wine, but it was a lot of fun. I feel HORRIBLE right now, but I've learned my lesson about how many tastings to do and have time to take it easy today.